The Fun Factor (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday May 29, 2007 3:48PM; Updated: Tuesday May 29, 2007 4:21PM
Jeff Weaver: Weaver's defeatist body language on the mound is where it all starts. He often shrugs his shoulders like a whiny little leaguer when he gives up hits or fielders make mistakes behind him. His career has been nothing short of a disappointment. The only silver lining -- and it is a big one -- for Weaver was the fact that he pitched well for the Cardinals last October and won a ring, which earned him another fat contract. Ask Mariners fans if he's any fun to watch.
Steve Trachsel: When Mike Hargrove was a player he was called "the human rain delay" because of his propensity to step out of the batter's box between pitches. Trachsel is the pitching version of Hargrove, the man you absolutely don't want to be stuck seeing on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of August. It's not that Trachsel is an awful pitcher, it's just that he's agonizing to watch. He works so slowly that he threatens to get everyone -- from his fielders to the local announcers -- but the beer vendors vexed with him by the third inning.
Barry Bonds: Deserves a place on this list simply because his sour personality has helped take the joy out of witnessing the greatest talent of our generation. The breaking of Hank Aaron's home run record should be a cause for celebration. Instead it has become a death knell.
Kenny Rogers: In This is Spinal Tap we learned that there is a fine line between clever and stupid. In this case there is a fine line between a junkball artiste like El Duque and a maddening junkballer like Rogers. True, Rogers' personality doesn't help matters, but it is his pitching style -- forever nibbling around the strike zone -- that makes him infuriating to watch.
Randy Johnson: "Fun" is a word that has never been associated with Johnson, but in his prime you could argue that watching a freaky 6-foot-10 powerhouse lefty was terrific fun. There has never been a pitcher like him before. Plus, his moniker, the Big Unit, is one of the more amusing in recent memory. But now, as Johnson hangs around to notch his 300th win he's become the modern version of Lefty Carlton at the end of his career. He's grumpier than Carlton too, which is no small feat.
Jeff Kent: Sure, he's headed for Cooperstown, but Kent has got to be one of the least enjoyable stars of his or any other generation.
Armando Benitez: Benitez looks like the school bully, the closer for The Gashouse Gorillas. He's brooding, temperamental and entirely unappealing, particularly for fans who root for the team he plays on. Ever want to get a Met fans' blood to boil, just bring up Benitez's name.
Kenny Lofton: The recurring theme with the least-fun players is that they are old and surly. Lofton fits the bill here. He's about as sullen as they come. Beyond that, his game is boring. He's a limited offensive player and his speed can't always cover his inability to get good jumps on the ball in the field. He's an eye sore.
A.J. Burnett: The quintessential Million-Dollar-Arm/Ten-Cent-Head, Burnett has stuff for days. But only occasionally is he a pitcher. More often than not, he is a wildly talented chucker.
Ken Griffey Jr: Formerly one of the most enjoyable star players in the game, Junior is now one of the least fun players to watch simply because he can't stay healthy. If Bonds and Johnson are hard to root for because they come across like jerks, Griffey is painful to watch because we can only imagine what his career would have been like had it not been decimated by injuries. Junior now has 574 home runs, an amazing accomplishment. Yet it feels as if it is happening in a vacuum.
Dishonorable mention: Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, Neifi Perez.